Gustavs Celmiņš

Gustavs Celmiņš (April 1, 1899 in Riga – April 10, 1968), was a Latvian politician, who was the founder of the Pērkonkrusts (Latvian pronunciation: [ˈpæːr.kuɔn.krusts], "Thunder Cross").


He was educated at the commerce school of the Riga Stock Exchange, and graduated in Moscow. In 1917, he began studies at the Riga Polytechnical Institute which had been evacuated to Moscow. After the October Revolution, he returned to Latvia.

In 1918, Celmiņš enlisted into the newly created Latvian Army, and was promoted to lieutenant the following year, and was then appointed Latvian military attaché in Poland. In 1921, he was awarded the Order of Lāčplēsis.

Retired from army in 1924, he worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1925 to 1927. Celmiņš became the secretary of Minister of Foreign Affairs, and subsequently worked in the Finance Ministry. On 24 January 1932, the Latvian nationalist group Ugunskrusts was founded, and Gustavs Celmiņš was elected as its leader. After Ugunskrusts was banned, he founded the organization Pērkonkrusts ("Thundercross"). Common for both organisations was that they advocated a national revolution for a radical re-organisation of society, politics, and the economy in Latvia. Following Kārlis Ulmanis' 15 May 1934 coup d'état, Celmiņš was arrested and imprisoned for three years. He was exiled from Latvia in 1937.

Celmiņš moved to Italy, then Switzerland. While in Zürich, he was arrested and then banished from Switzerland. He later lived in Romania, where he had contacts with the Iron Guard, and then moved to Finland. In 1938, he became the leader of Pērkonkrusts' "foreign contacts office". After the Soviet Union invaded Finland, Celmiņš enrolled as a volunteer on the latter's side. When the conflict ended, he moved to Nazi Germany.

In July 1941, after Operation Barbarossa, he, together with Nazi officials, returned to Latvia and regained leadership of Pērkonkrusts.

After the occupation authorities once again banned Pērkonkrusts in August 1941, Celmiņš continued his outward collaboration with the Germans in the hopes that sizable Latvian military formations would be created. From February 1942, he headed the Committee for Organising Latvian Volunteers (Latvian: Latviešu brīvprātīgo organizācijas komiteja), the main function of which was the recruitment of Latvian men for the Latvian Auxiliary Police Battalions, known in German as Schutzmannschaften or simply Schuma.[1][2] Aside from front-line combat duties, these battalions were also deployed in anti-partisan operations Latvia and Belarus that included the massacres of rural Jews and other civilians.[3] This situation was not what Celmiņš had hoped for, and so he began to sabotage the recruitment efforts. Because of this, he was later transferred to a job as a minor clerk within the occupation administration.

Pērkonkrusts members working within the SD apparatus in occupied Latvia would feed Celmiņš information, some of which he would include in his underground, anti-German publication Brīvā Latvija. This eventually led to Celmiņš and his associates being arrested by the Gestapo in 1944, with Celmiņš ending up imprisoned in Flossenbürg concentration camp.[4]

In late April 1945 he was, together with other prominent concentration camp inmates, transferred to Tyrol where the SS left the prisoners behind. He was liberated by the Fifth U.S. Army on 5 May 1945.

After World War II, he lived in Italy, where he published the newspaper Brīvā Latvija. In 1947 he published the autobiographic book Eiropas krustceļos ("At the Crossroads of Europe").

In 1949 he emigrated to the United States. From 1950 to 1952 he was an instructor at Syracuse University's Armed Forces school in New York state, and beginning in 1951 he was also the director of the Foreign Language program for the US Air Force, and a television lecturer about the USSR and communism. From 1954 to 1956 he worked as a manufacturer in Mexico. Between 1956 and 1958 he was a librarian at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. In 1959 he became a professor of Russian studies at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas. He died on April 10, 1968 in San Antonio, Texas.[5]


In a Latvian Latvia the question of minorities will not exist. ... This means that once and for all we renounce unreservedly bourgeois-liberal prejudice on the national question, we renounce historical, humanistic, or other constraints in pursuit of our one true aim—the good of the Latvian nation. Our God, our belief, our life's meaning, our goal is the Latvian nation: whoever is against its welfare is our enemy. ...

We assume that the only place in the world where Latvians can settle is Latvia. Other peoples have their own countries. ...

In one word—in a Latvian Latvia there will only be Latvians.

— Gustavs Celmiņš, "A Latvian Latvia", p. 218

See also


  • Celmiņš, Gustavs (1947). Eiropas krustceļos (in Latvian). Esslingen: Dzintarzeme. OCLC 4511464.
  • Celmiņš, Gustavs (1995) [1933-09-17]. "A Latvian Latvia". In Roger Griffin (ed.). Fascism. Oxford Readers. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 217–8. ISBN 0-19-289249-5. OCLC 31606309.


  1. ^ Bassler, Gerhard P. (2000). Alfred Valdmanis and the Politics of Survival. Toronto; Buffalo: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-4413-1. OCLC 41347251.
  2. ^ Silgailis, Arturs (2001). Latviešu leģions: Dibināšana, formēšana un kauju gaitas Otrā pasaules karā (in Latvian). Riga: Junda. ISBN 9984-01-035-X. OCLC 48959631.
  3. ^ Westermann, Edward B. (2005). Hitler's Police Battalions: Enforcing Racial War in the East. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-7006-1371-4. OCLC 56982341.
  4. ^ Felder, Björn M. (2003). "'Die Spreu vom Weizen Trennen ...': Die Lettische Kartei—Pērkonkrusts im SD Lettland 1941–1943". Latvijas Okupācijas Muzeja Gadagrāmata (in German). 2003: 47–66. ISSN 1407-6330.
  5. ^ Celmiņš, Gustavs (01.04.1899.-10.04.1968.) Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine


was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar, the 1899th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 899th year of the 2nd millennium, the 99th year of the 19th century, and the 10th and last year of the 1890s decade. As of the start of 1899, the Gregorian calendar was

12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

1934 Latvian coup d'état

The 1934 Latvian coup d'état, known in Latvia as the May 15 Coup or Ulmanis' Coup, was a self-coup by the veteran Prime Minister Kārlis Ulmanis against the parliamentary system in Latvia. His regime lasted until the Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940.

On the night of May 15-16 Ulmanis, with the support of Minister of War Jānis Balodis and the paramilitary Aizsargi organization took control of the main state and party offices, proclaimed a State of War in Latvia, suspended the Constitution, dissolved all political parties and the Saeima (parliament).Ulmanis then established an executive non-parliamentary authoritarian regime in which he ruled as the Prime Minister. Laws continued to be promulgated by the acting government. The incumbent President of Latvia Alberts Kviesis, who was from Ulmanis Latvian Farmers' Union, accepted the coup and served out the rest of his term until 10 April 1936. Ulmanis then illegally assumed the office of State President and was officially known as Valsts un Ministru Prezidents (State and Minister-President), but usually in publications was called Tautas Vadonis (Nation's Leader) or simply Vadonis (Leader).

Ulmanis was unique among European dictators of the time, as he did not create one ruling party and did not introduce a new constitution. Instead, Ulmanis created state-controlled Chambers of Professions, based on the corporatist models of the authoritarian regimes of Konstantin Päts in Estonia and António de Oliveira Salazar in Portugal. The regime was largely based on the authority and personality cults of Ulmanis and Balodis as founders of Latvia during the Latvian War of Independence who it was claimed had freed the nation from multi-party chaos.

The bloodless coup was carried out by the army and units of the national guard Aizsargi loyal to Ulmanis. They moved against key government offices, communications and transportation facilities. Many elected officials and politicians (almost exclusively from Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party, as well as figures from the extreme right and left) were detained, as were any military officers that resisted the coup. Some 2,000 Social Democrats were initially detained by the authorities, including most of the Social Democratic members of the disbanded Saeima, as were members of various right-wing radical organisations, such as Pērkonkrusts. In all, 369 Social Democrats, 95 members of Pērkonkrusts, pro-Nazi activists from the Baltic German community, and a handful of politicians from other parties were interned in a prison camp established in the Karosta district of Liepāja. After several Social Democrats, such as Bruno Kalniņš, had been cleared of weapons charges by the courts, most of those imprisoned began to be released over time, some deciding to go into exile. Those convicted by the courts of treasonous acts, such as the leader of Pērkonkrusts Gustavs Celmiņš, remained behind bars for the duration of their sentences, three years in the case of Celmiņš.



was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1968th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 968th year of the 2nd millennium, the 68th year of the 20th century, and the 9th year of the 1960s decade. This was the year of the Protests of 1968.

April 1

April 1 is the 91st day of the year (92nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 274 days remain until the end of the year.

It is not only the first day of the second quarter of the year, but it is also the midway point of the first half of the year.

April 10

April 10 is the 100th day of the year (101st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 265 days remain until the end of the year.

Brīvā Latvija (1943–44)

Brīvā Latvija. Latvju Raksti (Free Latvia. Latvian Writings) was the name of an underground, anti-German resistance newspaper in Nazi-occupied Latvia during World War II. Its first four issues appeared under the title Vēstījums (Message). The newspaper's editor and principal author was the Latvian fascist Gustavs Celmiņš. When the newspaper and its distribution networks were uncovered were discovered by the Gestapo, Celmiņš and others were arrested and sent to prison or concentration camps.

German occupation of Byelorussia during World War II

The occupation of Belarus by Nazi Germany started with the German invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 (Operation Barbarossa) and ended in August 1944 with the Soviet Operation Bagration. The western parts of the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (as of 1940) became part of the Reichskommissariat Ostland in 1941, but in 1943 the German authorities allowed local collaborators to set up a client state, the Belarusian Central Rada, that lasted until the Soviets liberated the region.

Gustavs (name)

Gustavs is a Latvian masculine given name and may refer to:

Gustavs Celmiņš (1899-1968), a Latvian politician

Gustavs "Gustavo" Butelis (born 1978), a Latvian rapper and record producer

Gustav Klutsis (1895-1938), a Latvian photographer

Gustavs Zemgals (1871–1939), a Latvian politician and the second President of Latvia

History of Latvia

The history of Latvia began around 9000 BC with the end of the last glacial period in northern Europe. Ancient Baltic peoples arrived in the area during the second millennium BC, and four distinct tribal realms in Latvia's territory were identifiable towards the end of the first millennium AD. Latvia's principal river Daugava, was at the head of an important trade route from the Baltic region through Russia into southern Europe and the Middle East that was used by the Vikings and later Nordic and German traders.

In the early medieval period, the region's peoples resisted Christianisation and became subject to attack in the Northern Crusades. Latvia's capital city Riga, founded in 1201 by Germans at the mouth of the Daugava, became a strategic base in a papally-sanctioned conquest of the area by the Livonian Brothers of the Sword. It was to be the first major city of the southern Baltic and, after 1282, a principal trading centre in the Hanseatic League.

By the 16th century, Baltic German dominance in Terra Mariana was increasingly challenged by other powers. Due to Latvia's strategic location and prosperous trading city of Riga, its territories were a frequent focal point for conflict and conquest between at least four major powers: the State of the Teutonic Order, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Sweden and Russian Empire. The last period of external hegemony began in 1710, when control over Riga and parts of modern-day Latvia switched from Sweden to Russia during the Great Northern War. Under Russian control, Latvia was in the vanguard of industrialisation and the abolition of serfdom, so that by the end of the 19th century, it had become one of the most developed parts of the Russian Empire. The increasing social problems and rising discontent that this brought meant that Riga also played a leading role in the 1905 Russian Revolution.

The First Latvian National Awakening began in the 1850s and continued to bear fruit after World War I when, after two years of struggle in the Latvian War of Independence, Latvia finally won sovereign independence, as recognised by Soviet Russia in 1920 and by the international community in 1921. The Constitution of Latvia was adopted in 1922. Political instability and effects of the Great Depression led to the May 15, 1934 coup d'état by Prime Minister Kārlis Ulmanis. Latvia's independence was interrupted in June–July 1940, when the country was occupied and incorporated into the Soviet Union. In 1941 it was invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany, then reconquered by the Soviets in 1944–45.

From the mid-1940s Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic was subject to Soviet economic control and saw considerable Russification of its peoples. However, Latvian culture and infrastructures survived and, during the period of Soviet liberalisation under Mikhail Gorbachev, Latvia once again took a path towards independence, eventually succeeding in August 1991 to be recognised by Russia the following month. Since then, under restored independence, Latvia has become a member of the United Nations, entered NATO and joined the European Union.

Latvia's economy suffered greatly during the Great Recession which caused the 2008 Latvian financial crisis. Worsening economic conditions and better job opportunities in Western Europe have caused a massive Latvian emigration.

Igors Šiškins

Igors Šiškins (born 9 June 1959 in Rēzekne) is a Latvian ultra-nationalist and the director of the "Gustavs Celmiņš Centre". During the 1990s Šiškins was a member of the Latvian ultra-nationalist movement Pērkonkrusts. He was one of those convicted for bombing the Victory Memorial to Soviet Army in June 1997.

Kārlis Ulmanis

Kārlis Augusts Vilhelms Ulmanis (September 4, 1877 in Bērze, Bērze Parish, Courland Governorate, Russian Empire – September 20, 1942 in Krasnovodsk prison, Soviet Union, now Türkmenbaşy, Turkmenistan) was one of the most prominent Latvian politicians of pre-World War II Latvia during the interwar period of independence from November 1918 to June 1940. He served four times as Prime Minister, the last time as the head of an authoritarian regime. The legacy of his dictatorship still divides public opinion in Latvia.

Leonīds Breikšs

Leonīds Breikšs was a noted 1930s Latvian poet, journalist and patriot. His Latvian-based country style sits with contemporaries including Aleksandrs Pelecis, Jānis Medenis, Gunars Freimanis, Bronislava Martuzeva and Anda Lice, who all suffered the terror of Bolsheviks in 1941. He wrote the noted poems "Latvian's creed", "Prayer", and "Sacred Legacy", which became a noted nationalist song with music by Janis Norvilis. Having numerous poetry and political publications in his name in the 1930s, his third and last poetry collection was published posthumously, after his death in a Soviet gulag in Saratov in September 1942.

List of Latvians

This is a list of prominent Latvians with Wikipedia articles. It includes:

persons who were born in the historical territory of what is now Latvia, regardless of ethnicity, citizenship, or time period; and

persons of Latvian descent regardless of their place of birth or citizenship.

Lithuanian National Union

Not to be confused with Lithuanian Nationalist Union.Lithuanian National Union (Lithuanian: Lietuvių Tautos Sąjunga, LITAS) is a radical Neo-Nazi political party in Lithuania, not recognised as a legal Lithuanian political party by the Ministry of Justice.

The party claims to be cooperating with other European radical nationalist and fascist parties. It includes National Democratic Party of Germany, Swedish National Democrats, Party of the Swedes, Finnish Freedom Party, Party of the Danes, Danish National Socialists, Swedish National Socialists, National Renovator Party, Forza Nuova, Jobbik, Latvian association "Antiglobalists" and the Center of Gustavs CelmiņšOne of the most well-known comrades of Murza Visvaldas Mažonas was expelled from the party in October 2011.


Pērkonkrusts (Latvian pronunciation: [ˈpæːr.kuɔn.krusts], "Thunder Cross"), was a Latvian ultra-nationalist, anti-German and antisemitic political party founded in 1933 by Gustavs Celmiņš, borrowing elements of German nationalism—but being unsympathetic to German National Socialism at the time—and Italian fascism. It was outlawed in 1934, its leadership arrested, and Celmiņš eventually exiled in 1937. Still-imprisoned members were persecuted under the first Soviet occupation; some collaborated with subsequently invading Nazi Germany forces in perpetrating the Holocaust. Pērkonkrusts continued to exist in some form until 1944, when Celmiņš, who had initially returned to work in the occupying German administration, was imprisoned.

Following the restoration of Latvia's independence in 1991, a new radical nationalist movement, also called Pērkonkrusts, was formed in 1995. The organization espouses many of the same values as its predecessor. Members have participated in efforts to bomb the Victory Memorial to Soviet Army several times, leading to the arrest, trial and imprisonment of many of its members.

Remembrance day of the Latvian legionnaires

Remembrance day of the Latvian legionnaires (Latvian: Leģionāru piemiņas diena), often known simply as Legionnaire Day (Leģionāru diena) or March 16 (16. marts) in Latvia, is a day on March 16, when soldiers of the Latvian Legion, part of the Waffen-SS, are commemorated. From 1998 until 2000, it was officially recognized as a "Remembrance Day for Latvian soldiers" by the Saeima.The day has been controversial as the Legion was formally a unit of Nazi Germany and the remembrance day has been seen by some as an attempt to glorify Nazism. Others point out that no one has ever been convicted of committing war crimes as a member of the Legion and hold that it was a purely military unit fighting against the Soviet Union that had occupied Latvia in 1940.

Thunder Cross

Thunder Cross may refer to:

Thunder Cross (Latvian: pērkonkrusts), the swastika in Latvian contexts

Pērkonkrusts, a Latvian fascist organisation led by Gustavs Celmiņš, sometimes referred to in English as the Thunder Cross

Thunder Cross (arcade game), a 1988 scrolling shoot 'em up arcade game

Rhapsody of Fire, formerly Thundercross, an Italian power metal band

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